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9/29 - PBI - Dolphin, Dolphin, more Dolphin! They're definitely back!

After the success on Sunday I was challenged by a friend to repeat the feat. Capt. Hugh called and asked if I planned to fish this week because he had a large Scout gathering coming up and they had planned a fish fry for one of the nights. He needed a pile of fish to feed 20 adults and 30 kids.

I loaded my recently recommissioned Contender with finger mullet and gogs and headed offshore as the sun was waking up. I ran 17 miles out in flat calm conditions but never saw more than a few areas of scattered grass. No weed lines, no rips, no debris. Not looking good. I put some livies out in a field of scattered grass I found, but it wasn't long before I realized it was futile.

I had grabbed the half dozen ballyhoo and a few strip baits left over from Sunday's trip, so I decided to put it on the troll while I searched. Five miles of trolling and I found one stick about three feet long and one inch in diameter. It had no growth and no bait on it.

Fifty yards after I passed that stick I got attacked by a nice dolphin. I put the boat in a turn but kept trolling as I fought the fish. Moments later I had 4 fish on. I stopped the boat. While fighting those fish I was greeted by a whole school of gaffer sized dolphin. I flipped out one of my live baits from earlier (which had died) and now had 5 on.

Over the next two hours I literally played with the school. I never had less than three rods hooked up. I would flip a finger mullet and tease the fish until one of them got it. I caught a few on a Hopkins jig, and a bunch on finger mullet. That was the most fun, watching them light up, attack with "tiger stripes", and launch themselves into the air on hookup. All the fish, but two, were in the ten pound range or better. The two biggest, 14-15lb fish were among the 7-8 I released. In the end I kept 8 and lost several others by just leaving them jumping in the rod holders.

The best part was I was totally alone. Nobody else on board and not a boat in sight! I even called numerous times on the radio advertising my numbers. After speaking to a few charterboats I know I thought one was coming, so at one point I just left 3 fish hooked up and just watched the school, tossing a few chunks here and there to keep them interested. I waited nearly a half hour and when nobody appeared to be coming I resumed the fun, hooking fish on light tackle and letting them go.

Finally, "bored" with the bail job, I picked up and headed in. Only to come across action in 500'. I stopped, flipped a single small jet head lure out and circled. In twenty minutes I had 2 small blackfins and 3 skipjack tuna before the school went down. All fishing only one rod. I released all but one of the skipjack as I had plenty of fish.


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